Pimachiowin Aki setting the stage for critical change to World Heritage Site selection process

World Heritage Site search for Pimachiowin Aki bid.

The Pimachiowin Aki bid seeks World Heritage Site designation for a 33,500km2 expanse of boreal forest that spans eastern Manitoba and north-western Ontario. Compared with the UK’s Peak District, which is one of Britain’s largest areas of untamed moorland at 1,437 km2, and other major conservation regions in Europe, this is a vast stretch of land.

The bid area is predominantly occupied by Anishinaabeg or Ojibway peoples of Bloodvein, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi, Pikangikum and Poplar River First Nations. These First Nations, who have developed traditional land practices in harmony with the forests for over 6,000 years, have put forth the bid in partnership with the Manitoba and Ontario governments.

Pimachiowin Aki is currently deemed an exceptional contender as it is one of the few bids to consider the combined ecological and cultural importance of the area (currently less than 3% of World Heritage sites fall into this ‘mixed’ category). It is also the only North American site to represent the Canadian Boreal Shield eco-zone and offers the highest multi-diversity within the region .

Currently, the bid acts as a precedent case for other future ‘mixed sites’ as Pimachiowin Aki is among the few that considers the important interrelationship between culture and nature rather than focus on these categories individually.